On Thursday, an Atlas 5 rocket of the United Launch Alliance was fired into the space from the launch location in Cape Canaveral. It was equipped with a communication satellite of the Unites States Air Force, worth $1.1 billion. It is expected to deliver improved capacity for the video, data relay and voice networks of the military.
The launcher of Atlas 5 had a length of 197 feet or roughly 60 meters. It gained lift off from Cape Canaveral’s Air Station pad 41 around at 6:13 a.m. EDT or 1013 GMT on Thursday. The rocket derived power from a main engine of Russian-make RD-180, fueled by kerosene and had five add-on solid boosters of rocket. It flashed into being and thundered out into the morning’s twilight over the Space Coast of Florida.
The solid boosters of rocket and main engine combined for the production of a thrust measuring nearly 2.6 million pounds, which pushed the Atlas 5 out into the space. It had on-board the fifth most advanced communications satellite of the very high frequency type belonging to the U.S. This will help in providing protected, secure links between government leaders and military commanders.
The launch team of ULA kept the launcher of Atlas 5 on level ground for an extra span of 29 minutes as engineers analyzed various technical issues regarding the GPS track system of the rocket, first stage system of steering, along with a concern about data patching. All these technical snags were dealt with successfully and the launch was given approval, with a final countdown of four minutes.
This delay fortunately placed the launch time of Atlas 5 at the correct moment of the morning’s twilight as it allowed the ascent of the rocket high into sunlight in the Earth’s atmosphere about a couple of minutes into this mission. The exhaust plume of Atlas 5 was illuminated by the sunlight and owing to the rarefied atmosphere’s ice particles; a noticeable cloud in the shape of a teardrop was formed.